Duterte: No compelling reason to declare martial law

Dharel Placido, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Jan 18 2017 06:07 PM

MANILA – President Rodrigo Duterte on Wednesday said he agrees with the military that there is no compelling reason yet to declare martial law.

Duterte made this clarification after he said over the weekend that he will declare martial law if the drug problem in the country worsens into something “virulent.”

“Tama ang military, there is no compelling reason really (to declare martial law),” Duterte said in a speech in Nueva Ecija.

Duterte’s latest statement on martial law is the latest in his string of seemingly contradictory pronouncements on the matter.

Prior to saying that he may declare martial law if only to confront the drug menace, Duterte had said that martial law during the dictatorship of Ferdinand Marcos did not improve the lives of Filipinos.

In his speech, Duterte again lamented the limits set by the Constitution on the declaration of martial law.

Under the Constitution, congressional approval is needed if the imposition of martial law will exceed 60 days. Any citizen may also challenge the basis of the declaration of the martial law before the Supreme Court.

Duterte reiterated, if this is the case, then the SC and Congress will most likely clash, since the legislative branch is usually allied with the executive.

“Who decides now? Ang Supreme Court sabi huwag. Sabi ng Congress yes. Who decides? The sitting president. So, ako,” he said.

Duterte also lashed out at the media for supposedly misinterpreting his recent pronouncements on martial law.

“Itong newspaper, ‘Duterte martial law’. I will not declare martial law, at kung mag-declare ako ng martial law di ako mag-ingay,’ he said.

“Basta ako, it is not found in the Constitution. It is not written there. But if I feel as a president that I have to preserve my country, I will declare martial law.”